Eightsome Reel as Caley Jags Snap Up Teenage Starlets
Caley Thistle manager John Hughes has snapped up eight talented youngsters on full-time contracts for next season from the ICTFC Academy system.
Six are from Inverness, one is from Aberdeen and the other is London born but brought up and went to school in Inverness.
All will be available for the clubs Under-20 team next season where they have the chance to force their way into the first team reckoning as Ryan Christie and Liam Polworth have done this year.
"These lads have come through our youth development system and have progressed to the point where we're able to offer them the opportunity of full-time football next season", said Hughes.
"I'm very keen to give local talent its chance, and Ryan and Liam have shaped up very well in recent months”.
"It would be very satisfying if a couple of this latest batch of recruits were to progress enough to come into the first team pool in due course. That’s their challenge if they are good enough no matter their age we will give them an opportunity."
The youngest of the new signings are Millburn Academy duo, goalkeeper Daniel Hoban and striker Jaime Wilson, who are both 16.
All the rest are 17 with Millburn also supplying left back Kane Hull while Inverness Royal Academy ex-pupils are right back Chris Brown and midfielder Struan McArthur.
Stephen Rennie from Culloden Academy plays left midfield while attacker Chris Blackett is an Aberdonian from Oldmachar Academy.
The eightsome reel is completed by central midfielder Blair MacLennan, born in Inverness but a product of Oldmachar Academy.
Club chairman Kenny Cameron said: ”We’ve been very active on the youth front and it is satisfying to be able to give these lads full-time contracts. Unfortunately, the way the current system works and due the financial constraints that are placed on clubs of our size we end up having to make decisions on our under 20’s lads sometimes based on their age and whether or not they are available to continue in our 'development squad'. This can be unfair of the young lads but when they do progress from the 20’s to our 1st team pool it means we are getting the best through our system. It is testament to the sterling work done by our Youth Academy team that we can bring through these young lads in such healthy numbers. The club will give them their chance and it is now up to them to grasp the opportunity to develop and progress.”
"The club's future lies in bringing through more home-grown players into the senior squad. John Hughes has a track record of giving youth its chance and Ryan Christie has emerged as an exciting prospect since John showed faith in him."
"Under-20s coach Duncan Shearer will work with these lads and give them every opportunity to achieve their footballing dream."
"Unfortunately as part of the reshuffle the following lads have been released from our under 20’s squad as they breached the age bracket and had not quite made the transition to full time action with the 1st team squad."
J Cheyne, M Cooper, C Pepper, N Draper, J Gorman, A Evans
"We wish these youngsters well and perhaps with another year of football under their belt elsewhere who knows what their future will bring. They were all lovely lads to have at the club and a credit to themselves and their parents."